When I got a copy of Zarfi and she wants my Jollof— two stories written by Damilola Jonathan Oladeji, I was super excited. Maybe because I have read a few stories written by the same author and each time, I wanted more from where they came from.

When I started to flip its pages, I found myself stuck and unable to do something else, until I had finished both stories. What I particularly love about Zarfi, is the author’s finesse and diversity with such a compact storyline. The way he made sure to perch on those lingering menace that are becoming ubiquitous in our society today, is simply remarkable.

In the simplest of terms, he tried to portray the chasm and the lasting stigmas those menaces imprint, through characters like Susan, whose parents were too religious like most of ours. Parents who think parenthood gives them the divine right to tell their kids what to do at every turn. There was  Zarfi who was haunted by the paedophilic circumstances of her own birth…and Sam who couldn’t face his worst fears.

She wants my Jollof

Here, the author takes you on a ride, the sort that is bumpy, but you don’t realise because the driver and the shock absorbers are darn good. Written in a first person narrative, he touches on serious issues with a light feel; the turmoil that comes with being a Nigerian, a country where you finish school and come home to play video games and get used to mother’s Jollof some more. The same mother you ought to be giving back to. There is also the classic case of the Nigerian broke guy syndrome; where the hope of a better tomorrow, sustains Bukki in his relationship with Bisi, until joblessness screws him many times over,  and suddenly she becomes psychoanalytical.

Albeit, I would appreciate both stories more, if the author had indulged my cravings for a more explicit definition of scenery but nevertheless, Zarfi leaves you impassioned in the end and then, she wants my Jollof brightens you moderately.